Michael "Eppy" Epstein on My Father's Place, WLIR, and his new venue in Glen Cove
Long Island's music scene is often looked down upon outsiders. For better and worse, Long Island is thought of as Billy Joel's turf, much as how parts of New Jersey are entirely associated with Bruce Springsteen and/or Bon Jovi. Of course, we Long Islanders know that there have been plenty of cool artists, movements and venues out in Nassau and Suffolk, from the emergence of hip-hop in the 1980s, to the roots of emo in the early 2000s and beyond. Yet prior to the ascent of hip-hop, Long Island had My Father's Place.
My Father's Place was a music venue helmed by Michael "Eppy" Epstein. It featured Woodstock performer Richie Havens on its opening night in May 1971. Along the way, Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band, Aerosmith, Linda Ronstadt, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, The Police, Lou Reed, The Band, Meat Loaf, John Mellencamp and The Ramones graced its stage; many of these concerts were featured live on the radio as part of WLIR broadcasts. The Roslyn venue closed in 1987, after 16 years in business, with a performance by Tower Of Power. All of this and more was documented in a recent book about My Father's Place.
In the three decades since My Father's Place closed, Eppy has remained active in the music business, consulting for artists and promoting concerts at other venues. However, he has recently turned his attention to producing My Father's Place-branded concerts at Glen Cove's Lighthouse Waterfront Cafe. Upcoming events include Dominick DiPietrantonio on Oct. 20, Rick Derringer on Oct. 22, and Snowapple on Oct. 29. Eppy is also promoting a Guy Davis show at the Page One Restaurant in Glen Cove on Oct. 28.
Do you have a professional accomplishment of that you're proudest of?
Eppy: The achievement that means the most to me -- and STILL does -- is bringing live music to local venues. With My Father's Place, and still today, it's the opportunity to bring new musical experiences to an audience that is up close and personal. The artist and the audience can't escape each other!
My Father's Place closed in 1987 but you've stayed active in the years since, having promoted live events and developed artists. How do you usually answer people when they ask about what you did after My Father's Place closed?
Eppy: I'm proud to tell them I'm still bringing wonderful live music to Long Island.
A few years back, you helped put together a book, Fun and Dangerous: Untold Tales, Unseen Photos and Unearthed Music From My Father’s Place 1975-1980. Was it entirely enjoyable to look back at everything? Or are you not much of a fan of nostalgia?
Eppy: It's always great to look back and remember; we have to look at the past to go forward. The book is also a work of art, as well as a labor of love!
Do you have a lot of recordings of My Father's Place events? Have you ever thought about releasing select shows for sale or streaming?
Eppy: 2,200 events were recorded at WLIR , but I do not own them. There was a companion CD with the book with several tracks, all digitally re-mastered. Rockbeat Records is acquiring the rights to put some of the shows out. We have four out already -- more will come. They're available at Barnes & Noble.
Where did the idea for My Father's Place at the Lighthouse Waterfront Cafe come from?
Eppy: With 7,500 members of Friends Of My Father’s Place on Facebook, we started promoting shows at Page One in Glen Cove and then the Lighthouse came along. The venues afforded me the opportunity to have stars like Midge Ure from Ultravox, Mike Peters from The Alarm, Denny Laine from Wings and The Moody Blues, and many others. Fans of My Father's Place are excited to have small, great local venues on Long Island again.
What's coming up for you with the venue? Is the plan to run more than a few shows a month?
Eppy: The plan is to bring more acts -- known and up and coming -- to play more frequently. We're moving in that direction. Lots of irons in the fire!
And what's coming up for you within artist management? Who's on your roster currently?
Eppy: I am consulting several artists, including Non-Stop To Cairo and Dominick. My eyes and ears are always open to the incredible new talent that is out there.
When not busy with music, how do you like to spend your free time?
Eppy: There's something other than music? My time is pretty much taken up by promoting, managing, planning, and developing live music. It's been the driving force in my life.
Do you have a favorite restaurant by you?
How much of the Long Island that you had experienced in the heyday of My Father's Place is still there? Are you still in touch with a lot of the same people as you were decades ago?
Eppy: The magic that was Long Island years ago is still here. I am constantly running in to folks that helped make My Father's Place a success and are STILL supporting live music here.
Finally, Eppy, what do you wish more people knew about Long Island?
Eppy: Great original music still exists; live as well as recorded. There’s not enough outlets to hear new music. There should be. And it's my job to help make that happen.